Solar water heating systems use heat from the sun to heat water. The technology is widely available and well developed.
The Solar Water heating systems can provide nearly all your hot water during the summer months and about 50% all year round. The average domestic system can reduce you carbon emissions by about 400kg per year.
For domestic hot water there are three main components: solar panels, a heat transfer system, and a hot water cylinder. Solar panels - or collectors - are fitted to your roof. They collect heat from the sun's radiation. The heat transfer system uses the collected heat to heat water. A hot water cylinder stores the hot water that is heated during the day and supplies it for use later. The panels work throughout daylight hours, even if the sky is overcast and there is no direct sunshine.
A south facing roof is ideal for installation of a solar water heating system to ensure receiving direct sunlight for the main part of the day. You may also need space to locate an additional water cylinder.
The typical installation cost for a domestic flat plate collector system is £2,000 - £3,000. Evacuated tube systems will cost £3,500 - £4,500. Grants are available for households in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, from an organization called clearskies.
Solar water systems can also be used for larger applications such as heating a swimming pool.